Personal Injury

Wrongful death lawsuit targets rock legend Gregg Allman, Hollywood filmmakers

railroad tracks e1530913205751 Wrongful death lawsuit targets rock legend Gregg Allman, Hollywood filmmakersSAVANNAH, Ga. — The family of a 27-year-old camera assistant who was struck and killed by a freight train on the set of a movie about Gregg Allman said they are suing the rock legend and producers of his movie as a “wake up call” to make Hollywood safer.

Sarah Jones, 27, died Feb. 20 when a freight train struck part of a film crew shooting on a railroad bridge in southeastern Georgia. Six other workers on the set were injured. Ms. Jones and the others were filming a scene for the movie “Midnight Rider,” a film about the life of Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band.

The father of Ms. Jones told the Associated Press that the wrongful death lawsuit will serve as a “wake up call” to Hollywood filmmakers who put profits over safety.

“There’s a minority of people in the industry that are too much about the dollar, and unfortunately it takes slapping them upside the head with the dollar in order to get their attention,” Richard Jones told the AP. “That’s part of what this is about.”

The family seeks unspecified monetary damages in its lawsuit against eight corporations and 10 individuals named as defendants. The lawsuit was filed in a Georgia state court in Savannah where the film’s production was based.

One of the named defendants is Gregg Allman. Others include director Randall Miller and his company Unclaimed Freight Productions; a number of executives and producers involved with the film; CSX Transportation, the rail company that owns the tracks where the fatal incident occurred; and Rayonier, the company that owns the land surrounding the tracks.

According to the lawsuit, the film’s producers chose to send a camera crew to the railroad bridge even after CSX denied them permission, and they misled Ms. Jones and other crew members into believing they had a filming permit for that location when they did not.

The lawsuit also accuses Rayonier of allowing the film crew onto its property and wrongly telling producers that only two trains would cross the bridge that day.

Mr. Allman, who was named as an executive producer for the film and was part of its management structure, at least on paper, sued Mr. Miller and his company to stop them from restarting the film, which had been shelved after the crash. Their dispute was settled out of court last week, but the terms were not disclosed.

Mr. Allman’s lawyers said that the singer was not involved in the decision-making process for the film and the incident has harmed his reputation.


Associated Press
Deadline Hollywood
Righting Injustice